A woman battering at the factory door, the menfolk trying to decide whether to help, and nary an official of civil authority in sight. This image from Wednesday encapsulates the history and ethos of Coronation Street.
As I and other analysts of Coronation Street have noted, it’s always been an insular community where people fix their own problems and a community where women are the leaders. Here we have a madman holding hostages inside a building, threatening to shoot them. The police (for once!) have been called. But before they get there, Becky takes matters into her own hands.
I thought, as she reached into the pile of building materials, that she was going to get something to use as a battering ram. Probably if she’d found something substantial enough, she would have. Instead she started bashing at the reinforced door glass.
Meanwhile, inside, having poured gasoline over everything and with a lighter in his pocket, Tony intones the Lord’s Prayer over and over while Carla surreptitiously fights to loosen the rope holding her wrists. Tony intones, Becky breaks through the glass, everyone else yells.
Shortly before this scene, Tony has let Maria leave. He knows that means the jig is up, that she will call the police. She doesn’t though. Miss Always-Has-Her-Phone staggers across the street, runs into Roy and tells him Hayley and Carla are being held by a lunatic Tony. Roy, much to my surprise, also doesn’t phone the police or tell her to. He runs to the factory door, offering himself to Tony in Hayley’s place. The glass mesh between them acts as a confession booth screen, for whose soul-baring? Tony’s or Roy’s, or both? Eventually Maria staggers into the Rovers (thank God – I was starting to wonder if she’d just go off somewhere by herself to think things over!) and tells Becky. While Steve and others just stand there gobsmacked, Becky says “phone the police” before she takes off to save her friend Hayley.
Then it all plays out, with police and even the Army by the looks of one guy trying to keep people back, sharpshooters posted around the outside of the factory and Tony and Carla fighting inside as the factory burns around them. Carla shoots Tony but only wings him and loses her nerve before she gets a better shot in. But she gets out, running into the arms of Trevor. And a beautiful moment that made my tears fall, Roy telling Hayley that he’s not very good at expressing his feelings but that he loves her and only wants to tell her and show her that every day. And Tony? Unless it goes the American soaps route and he miraculously escapes the explosion, sadly we’ve seen the last of the lovely but demented Mr. Gordon.